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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

A Master is Far-sighted

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

(1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV)

The Lord Jesus was far-sighted in choosing disciples and in dedicating them the time and care necessary to train and prepare them for the task of continuing after and without him. I am a staunch supporter of discipleship and my publications testify to this. In fact, I am deeply convinced that the path of every believer leads sooner or later to having to decide whether to be a disciple or not. This is not a title, acquired at the spiritual birth, but a role that requires will, desire and commitment, starting precisely from a personal decision. To be a disciple you need a teacher, a figure of reference and inspiration is needed. The greater the teacher, the more the disciple will have the possibility to grow. In the same way, those who choose a “small” teacher will remain so in turn. "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). Following Christ means placing oneself in the following of a faithful witness of him. If the apostle Paul could present himself as a model, today it seems difficult to place oneself in the shadow of "masters" who set themselves up for example. Unfortunately, I fear that there are not a few who enter the path of discipleship by nurturing personal ambitions, whose only motivation is family or work frustration, the need for affirmation or qualification at least in the ecclesial context.

Paul was a follower of Barnabas, his mentor in "the Way", despite having spent years at Gamaliel's feet, before setting himself as an example to many, as well as to the Corinthians: "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you" ( 2 Thessalonians 3:7 ); "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern" (Philippians 3:17). As a child is the "product" of a parent, so the disciple mirrors the teacher. No aspiring disciple can do it alone, because alone you can't go anywhere. In this perspective, he could have a reason for sending him two by two to the first Christian mission. Although they returned cheering and triumphant, many decided to give up when the road became harder. To the small number of those left, Jesus asked if they too would like to leave (John 6:67). Life also reserves for the believer difficult moments, crossroads and circumstances that require a choice and it is not always easy to choose to be on the side of the Lord. But the disciple is the one who can make sacrifices and take the cross of his Lord on his shoulder. In the specific case, Paul explains to the Corinthians what the criterion of their choices must be: not personal self-interest or convenience, but every attitude must be aimed at the "glory of God". At the same time, the search for the spiritual good of others requires us to avoid, with care, being a stumbling block or a scandal for anyone.

To comply with Jesus' final imperative: "Make disciples!" (Matthew 28:19), the glory of God and the spiritual well-being of others should remain the only goals for believers of every generation, and therefore also for us. Jesus looked to us and after us when he recommended making disciples. The apostle Paul did the same (2 Timothy 2:2). I remain of the idea that discipleship is not a title or a certificate, but the course of a life lived in the following of Christ, which must be transferred to others as in a system of communicating vessels. It is through evangelization that we are all equally invited to Jesus, but only a small part choose to carry the cross; only those who are prepared to be prepared manifest the will for spiritual growth. Unfortunately, there are situations in which there is no clear path, and believers remain on the sidelines, without gaining experience or uncertainty of what to do. At the same time, however, I believe that if he insists on relegating an aspiring disciple to being a spectator user of lectures and seminars, without encouraging him to evangelize and/or to put him in a position to exercise a service, over time this will fade. I hope that examples will arise in our days capable of stimulating the youngest to give the best of themselves, always! By recognizing our limitations and trying to move them from time to time, we will prove that we are disciples.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 18

April 26, 2 Samuel 23-24; Luke 19:1-27

April 27, 1 Kings 1-2; Luke 19:28-48

April 28, 1 Kings 3-5; Luke 20:1-26

April 29, 1 Kings 6-7; Luke 20:27-47

April 30, 1 Kings 8-9; Luke 21:1-19

May 01, 1 Kings 10-11; Luke 21:20-38

May 02, 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 22:1-30


Photo by mirofoto,

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